Monday, December 28, 2015

Natal e os presentes

Feliz Natal!
This past week has been wonderful, funny stories and miracles and all! Lets begin with the latest variation of my name (okay, Im starting to think the creativity will never run out). Sister KnaTT because t and p sound similar and either way its a weird name here. :)
Now for the funny stories: the other day we were waiting outside of a funeral office (its a good meeting spot because everyone knows where it is) and a guy exits wearing a black and purple witch hat like its the most normal thing in the world. Sister Richards looks at me with a face of suprise and exclaims "Is this Hogwarts?!" haha Another funny story is we were finishing a lesson with Pedro and Sister Richards said the closing prayer. I had forgotten to warn her about religions where everyone talks during the prayer (exclamations like "Praise the Lord!" and similar) and when Pedro's mother starts exclaiming "Oh Lord, bless us all!" Sister Richards freezes and Pedro and I motioned for her to keep on going. I dont know which of us four started giggling first, but in the end we were all laughing, even Pedro's mom. It wasnt a very reverent prayer but... Mission adventures, what can ya say? :)
The other day we were walking to lunch when we walked past two dogs and Sister RIchards says "Look! Two friends!" I think they heard us because the followed us for the next 4 or so blocks... We named them Steve (Sister RIchards) and Baltasar (me) and they were quite hilarious.
As for Christmas, it was absolutely wonderful! Christmas Eve we got to teach a lot of people and find new less actives and investigators. We had Christmas Eve dinner (a ceia de Natal) with Presidente Rocha and his family and watched the Christmas devotional as we ate! On Christmas we had lunch with all of the sisters in our zone (good thing we literally live in the apartment right by them) and we had delicous sausage, salad, mashed potatoes, rice and for dessert Sister Soares dos Santos made an amazing cake and ICE CREAM! In the morning we had hung our stockings (our real socks) by our fire place (paper taped to the wall, come on, we are in an apartment in Parnaíba) and Sister Robins made a Christmas tree out of a tree branch and ornaments made out of decorated paper with floss. Missionary life calls for creativity. :) After lunch Sister Richards and I took brownies we had made to our less actives and investigators and sang Christmas hymn duets. It was very neat and everyone loved the visits! Skype was wonderful, of course, my family is hilarious and it was a perfect ending to a great Christmas.
The miracles of the week are too numerous to name, so Ill include my favorites. TONS of our people came to church yesterday which was perfect because it was the Primary program! It was so neet to see all the cute kids participate, especially João Vitor, who was baptized a few weeks ago. This is the kid who I thought couldnt talk when I first met him,/. He read his part in front of everyone in the microphone! So neat!
 Our less actives are making tons of progress, especially Pedro and Thiago, who both took out the gages of their ears and have started talking about serving missions. So excited!
And now for my favorite part: The best Christmas present I received was a FAMILY of FOUR members who are MARRIED and are going to be baptized on January 9th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Marcos Antonio (who already keeps the word of wisdom, this guy is perfect!) and his wife Elizangela, and their two daughters Estefani (who is 15 and reminds me a ton of my sister) and Victoria (who is 9). They came to church yesterday and loved it and participated a ton. We are going to have a Family Home Evening with them tonight and Im so so so excited to keep working with them!
I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to give us the gift of His beloved Son and the Atonement. I know that when we keep the commandments and our covenants, our family can be together forever and we can receive all the blessings Heavenly Father has in store.
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp

Monday, December 21, 2015

14 meses e quase Natal!

Feliz Natal!
This week has also been an adventure, Sister Richards' feet were really swollen so we had to spend some time figuring out the problem (which we discovered was pretty much the shoes she was using) but now all is well, my companion has ankles and this week is going to be more normal! Wait, its Christmas, sooo.... Not normal. But thats okay because... Christmas! 
This week we got to give a name to our investigator's cat. Remember the cat named Hitler? His brother is now named Spiderman because Luiz wanted an English name and our lesson got interrupted by a giant tarantula playing with the cat so... Spiderman is the name!
Another funny story was when we were talking to an older man and his little grandson asking information about where to find a house. We invited them to church and the man started giving excuses and saying "Well... If God wants me to I might appear some day." As he said this, it started to rain money. Seriously, a R$2 bill floated down out of nowhere and I caught it and gave it to the grandson and said "Hey, if God can make it rain money, he can take you to church!" It was quite funny and made him think, so hopefully we will see him in sacrament meeting soon! :)
Other eventful moments of the week included making no bake cookies with a member, lots of wind (okay, thats normal) making our trashcan move around the house on its own (or maybe the bats are ghosts now...) and looking for lots of less active members. Our district had a challenge from President Melo to track down ALL of the members in Ramo 1 and Ramo 2 (Like, over 1,000 people, no joke) in a week and we worked really hard and had lots of success and miracles! A less active sister from our branch, Luzete, came to church yesterday and liked it a lot, invited us to almoço (lunch) this week, and said she wants to come the next sundays as well! Another less active sister, Raimunda (Socorro's mother), wasnt feeling well due to headaches, so we went yesterday to visit her and President Rocha gave her a blessing. She came to church that afternoon and said the hurt was completely gone and she loves coming to church! 
One of the biggest miracles of the week was on Saturday night, when most of our appointments fell through. It was 8 pm, so we had an hour left to work and Sister Richards and I decided to say a prayer and just go where we felt prompted to. We reached an intersection and Sister Richards suggested we turn left, so we did and walked past a few houses. We stopped at a house where there was a woman with a pitbull, so we decided to talk to her. We didnt say more than "Oi!" when she opened the door and invited us to sit down. We started talking about dogs and her life and ended with an invite for her to read the Book of Mormon. We marked 2 Nephi 31 for her and said that it was written by a prophet and taught about faith and baptism. She said she'd never been baptized but it was something she wanted, so we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ being baptized by someone holding the authority of God. She accepted and we are going next week to start teaching her! I know that God hears and answers our prayers. Miracles are waiting, we just have to ask and follow the promptings we receive! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave us the precious gift of His Son. I know that through the Atonement we can be made clean from sin, guilt, and receive the strength we need each and every day. 
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Com amor,
Sister Knapp

Monday, December 14, 2015

Nova compa, batismo e aventuras de casa

Ola! Feliz quasi Natal!
This week has been interesting, as Sister Richards described it. I am SUPER EXCITED for this transfer, I get to train again! My companion, SIster Richards, is seriously an angel! She is from Frisco, Texas and as all the people here say "she looks like a Barbie!!!" :) haha Its super funny to be two American girls in Parnaíba but it makes it a lot easier to share the Gospel because everyone wants to talk to us. 
So because Ramo 2 split into two areas and we have another companionship of sisters, Sister Richards and I had to move. But we moved to the apartment next door so its not that bad. :) The only problem was that it was full of OLD stuff from past missionaries and dust and just a nightmare. So we've basically been homeless people for this past week as we cleaned the apartment and got furniture (our fridge and stove STILL haven't shown up so we are being creative). But now it looks like a real apartment and "someday my fridge will come"... :) (like in the movie Snow White -- some day my prince will come)
Fun fact: this week I got bit by a dog! Official missionary status! Dont worrry though, the dog was the cutest puppy on planet earth with like no teeth so it didnt do more than tickle, but I get to say that I was bitten by a dog on my mission!
Latest name variation: Sister Nike. Im actually suprised I havent heard this one yet because its pretty close to Knapp (well... more than Sister Katchy Patchy).

Now for the MIRACLES! 
SOCORRO AND CARLOS DANIEL AND JOÃO VITOR WERE BAPTIZED! Seriously, this was miraculous! Theyve been waiting FOUR YEARS and now its real! Ive never seen them so happy, and Raimunda (Socorro's mom who has been inactive for a while) came and said "I want to be baptized again too! its such a good feeling!" It was really spiritual and the Releif Society made a gorgeous and delicious fancy cake to celebrate both their wedding and baptism. 
Pedro, our less active, is also progressing a lot! He came to church AND brought his friend this week! They´re awesome!
We had a neat experience on Thursday: we passed a house with Christmas lights and felt the need to clap (not knock of course). THere was a less active member, Thiago, who we started talking to and told him that we were there to help him come back to church. He told us that he felt Heavenly Father had sent us because he was making new years resolutions and one of them was to come back to church. Sister Richards shared a scripture about enduring to the end and he cried and said he needed to come back. So neat!
Yesterday we had district conference and afterwards we went out looking for new investigators. We had some neat lessons, and all the people we invited to baptism  accepted!! My favorite was at a house that Sistesr Richards chose, we clapped and a young man (20 something) named Yago (like the parrot from Aladdin!) answered the door. We started chatting about service and then transitioned into the Restoration. He was really interested and we are going to stop by tonight and give him a Book of Mormon. He promised to pray and ask about the Restoration (which he found very interesting) and he accepted to be baptized on January 2! Seriously, these next few weeks are going to be FULL of miracles! More than usual!
Thought of the week comes from President Melo in our district conference: "If you want to get to know the Savior, serve." I loved this and I know that service is the best antidote to sadness. I love the scripture in Mosiah that teaches that serving others serves God.
Have a wonderful week!
Com amor,
Sister Knapp

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Milagres dos pesquisadores eternos e transferência!

Boa tarde!
This email is a day late due to TRANSFERS! I'm writing this from Teresina, we arrived last night and our bus ride was quite fun. We passed little towns with cool names like Piracuruba and trees that look like they're from the movie The Lorax. Anyway, after two wonderful transfers in Parnaíba with Sister Reis.... I get to stay in Parnaíba! Sister Reis is now in Teresina finishing the training of Sister Evans and I get to train a new sister! My fourthborn! :) Seriously, I love love love training new sisters and I am so grateful for this privilege! I get to meet her in about an hour and a half, so updates next week on my new companion. Sister Robins and Sister Lockhart are also staying in Parnaíba and both are training, their area divided in two! Woohoo! 
The biggest miracle of the week was rather unexpected and SUPER WONDERFUL! So there is this family, Socorro and Ribamar, who are not all members of the Church. Ribamar is a member, his brother (who is our branch mission leader) and his family are members, and Socorro's mother and son are members. Socorro and their two children, Carlos Daniel and João Vitor (ages 9 and 8), have been going to church for about four years and hadn't been baptized. When we got to Parnaíba, they were the first (and pretty much only) investigators we had and it was a bit discouraging to work with them because the only things keeping them from baptism were coffee and Ribamar and Socorro getting married. And after two transfers of waiting and trying to get the wedding paperwork figured out... They were married on Wednesday!!!! So this Saturday Socorro and her children are going to be baptized! :) Our branch is super excited!! 
We are also having lots of progress with our less active member, Pedro. He is super awesome! We met him from trying to contact the people in the ward directory that we didnt know and the first time we taught him he didnt even take out his earphones to listen to us, he just played his video game. Now hes reading the Book of Mormon and he came to church this Sunday! Woohoo! :)
Fun fact: Sister Reis and I appeared on TV in Parnaíba a few weeks ago when we helped serve breakfast at a blook drive, so... thats pretty cool. 
Now for the funny stories of the week (both with the same family): we were teaching a family outside of their house, when in the middle of the lesson, the son yells "HITLER!" Turns out they have a cat named Hitler and the cat ran into the street just as a car was passing. It was definitely not the comment we were expecting, but the situation was quite hilarious. 
I also heard the weirdest reason for not being able to go to church: (direct quote) "I have to stay here watching the laundry dry until my mom comes so theives don't come and steal our laundry." ....
I also had the opportunity to try a weird food this week: Sarapatel. So theres this restaurant that Sister Reis and I eat at when the members who are giving us lunch give us money instead. We are big fans and the waiters are our friends and already know what we order. :) One of them tried to get us to order sarapatel (a typical dish) so he gave us a small sample that I tried. Its made of pig guts. Literally chopped up parts of the pig (snout, liver, tongue, stomach, intestines etc.) in a broth. Its about as disgusting as it sounds. Thanks, Ill stick to my churrasco and rice... :) 
The scripture that I would like to share this week comes from the training that President Melo gave in the trainers meeting today. We studied the parable of the 10 Virgins, which is probably my favorite. It reminded me how important it is to accumulate our spiritual oil for our lamps drop by drop. Studying the scriptures, going to church, praying sincerely, serving others. Its not a big dramatic life changing event but its all the little things we do. When we neglect these things, we may sadly come to find that the Bridegroom will say that we never knew Him. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have each day to repent, to start over, and do the little things to fill our lamps drop by drop. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth, just like in the times of Moses and Abraham, to guide us to our heavenly home. 
Have a wonderful week!
Sister Knapp